Ice Cream Therapy and the Fall of Food Fads: CPG News, Week of Oct 26-30

by Veronica Drake

3 Minutes



New Products & Partnerships 

Ripple Foods has launched its vegan pea milk in Costco’s Midwest stores, highlighting the success that the vegan brand has seen in the region.

Hooray Foods is rolling out its first product, vegan bacon, in 300 Whole Foods Market locations across the country.

Grenade, a UK-based sports nutrition brand, has had its first US product launch at Target, where its protein bars are now available nationwide.

Numi Organic Tea is launching a line of four flavored drinking chocolates in more than 300 Whole Foods and Sprouts Farmers Markets across the country.

Vegan ice cream brand Brave Robot is releasing an “emotional support pack” of four flavors of election-themed non-dairy ice cream that will put all proceeds toward STEM education for youth.


Financial News

Nestlé is disputing California Pizza Kitchen’s move to retract its agreement with the food giant to retail its frozen pizzas, which stems from the restaurant chain’s file for bankruptcy earlier this year. 

Dunkin’ Brands Group, owner of coffee chain Dunkin’ Donuts, has announced it is in talks with Inspire Brands about the potential acquisition of the former by the latter, adding that no agreement has been reached yet.

Meat-Tech 3D, an Israeli cell-based meat tech company, has started the process for an IPO in the US, mentioning late last year that it views the US as a major potential market for the startup

Hershey and Quinn Snacks released a joint statement this week that Hershey has invested an undisclosed amount in the snack brand as part of its latest funding round, pushing Hershey further into the snack category as it continues to grow its holding there.

Keurig Dr. Pepper will begin transitioning its Snapple and CORE drink bottles to recycled plastic, with plans to roll the 100% recycled plastic bottles throughout the US next year. Recycled Snapple bottles are already available in California, and the company says the switch will save 46.3 million pounds of plastic each year.


A Halloween Miracle

Despite a lot of uncertainty surrounding Halloween celebrations this year, candy sales are up 8.6% compared to last October, while chocolate sales are up 12.2%. The National Confectioners Association found that 90% of parents with young children said they can’t imagine Halloween without candy, while 96% said they still plan to celebrate Halloween in some form this year. Many major candy brands, like Mars Wrigley and Hershey, have echoed these findings with reports of their own that candy sales have not suffered as much as they originally feared the pandemic would make them. Junk food sales in general are up according to several sources, as months of lockdowns and home quarantining have put cravings for sugary and salty treats in overdrive, as sales have risen in these categories over the past six months. While traditional festivities like trick or treating and large costume parties may not happen this year, many households are spending more on certain Halloween items like seasonal candy, which will help offset the households that choose not to participate in 2020. These sales will set the change for the next major retail season, Christmas, as retailers and brands already begin releasing their holiday products and wait to see what Covid-19’s impact will be on the gift-giving season. 

Meanwhile, a survey from FreshDirect shows that Thanksgiving gatherings will be 55% smaller this year, and brands are getting ready to deliver to consumers’ new needs. The online grocery retailer will be offering three sizes of prepared Thanksgiving meals to be delivered to households, among which will include smaller size turkeys and a whole-chicken alternative, a possible option for families who will be hosting only a small group for their Thanksgiving Day meal. They will also offer a range of sizes of their side dishes to cater to any group, a shift that is expected to be adopted by many as they work to adapt to 2020’s new normal.


Separating the Fads from the Trends

2020 has shaken up food and beverage trends, and consumers are rapidly moving towards things like home cooking and values-driven purchases, according to the Specialty Food Association’s list of the top food trends expected for 2021. “COVID-19 has a massive impact on trend predictions heading into 2021, as consumers cook and eat at home more, turning to everyday meals and special treats to comfort and support their mental and physical well-being,” says SFA’s director of content, Denise Purcell. The focus for next year is heavily on the impacts of what consumers eat, as opposed to trying certain trendy food items.

A survey from Kearney listed taste, price, and quality as the three biggest factors that consumers are concerned with when trying the latest food and beverage fads, noting how certain ones, like pumpkin spice, seem to have more staying power than fading trends like celery water. While shoppers are willing to try new things, price and healthfulness have a major say in which crazes they’re willing to participate in, while Covid-19 may have boosted their willingness as product availability made it necessary for many to branch out from their favorite brands and discover new ones. “The real message here is that successful new products develop from communities of consumers with evolving tastes and preferences,” said Kearney’s Katie Thomas. “Food manufacturers and retailers can take cues from what consumers actually like, need, and what really motivates everyday purchase behavior, rather than being overly reactive to a quick hit flavor.”


Stocking up for Winter

Walmart’s CEO, Doug McMillon, said he believes that supply chain issues and surges in demand will continue for months longer, adding that another major stock-up period for consumers may be near as Covid-19 spike and winter sets in. “Things are getting better, but we have a ways to go to recover. It will be choppy for months to come as we all deal with the volatility and as things change,” he said. Market research firm Sports and Leisure Research Group reported that 52% of Americans said they are or have plans to stockpile due to supply chain concerns, and have recommended that brands make sure their eCommerce strategy is aligned in case physical stores shut down again.


Good Reads

The winners and losers for category sales during the first 7 months of the pandemic by Lillianna Byington, Food Dive

The Sweat, Stench, and Staggering Statistics of the American Supermarket by Nick Summers, New York Times

About Unioncrate

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